Exercise Will Hurt You: Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury, and How the Dangers of Sports and Exercise Can Affect Your Health

Steven J. Barrer, M.D. . Seven Stories, $22.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-60980-535-7
"I hate to exercise" admits neurosurgeon Barrer, who plays devil's advocate against fitness culture in this disjointed diatribe. He intends to "bring some reason to the cult of exercise" through an unwieldy mix of scare-tactic statistics, stories from the field, and complaints. Targets of Barrer's vitriol range from "extreme" sports–boxing, football, and hockey--to the seemingly benign. And thus, readers learn the following: yoga can cause blindness. Gyms are germ-ridden pick-up spots. Even gardening poses a serious threat. The book's most informative section contains a basic anatomical overview of sprains, strains, pulls, and tears. But Barrer's tone varies wildly; it's often unclear whether he's sharing legitimate concerns or merely trying to be funny. Barrer, who claims to be "physically lazy," has himself been hurt biking, practicing Aikido, skiing, and playing softball, basketball, and golf, and he recounts these stories throughout the book. His family calls him injury-prone, but Barrer disagrees: "I suspect that's just a euphemism for people who do things that put them in harm's way." Given his unfortunate experiences, Barrer's bitterness toward exercise is perhaps understandable, but that doesn't make him right. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 10/28/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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